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Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet
     

Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet

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by Peter Decherney
 

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Copyright law is important to every stage of media production and reception. It helps determine filmmakers’ artistic decisions, Hollywood’s corporate structure, and the vatieties of media consumption. The rise of digital media and the internet has only expanded copyright’s reach. Everyone from producers and sceenwriters to amateur video makers, file

Overview

Copyright law is important to every stage of media production and reception. It helps determine filmmakers’ artistic decisions, Hollywood’s corporate structure, and the vatieties of media consumption. The rise of digital media and the internet has only expanded copyright’s reach. Everyone from producers and sceenwriters to amateur video makers, file sharers, and internet entrepreneurs has a stake in the history and future of piracy, copy protection, and the public domain.

Beginning with Thomas Edison’s aggressive patent and copyright disputes and concluding with recent lawsuits against YouTube and Universal, Hollywood’s Copyright Wars follows the struggle of the film, television, and digital media industries to influence and adapt to copyright law. Many of Hollywood’s most valued treasures, from Modern Times (1936) to Star Wars (1977), cannot be fully understood without appreciating their legal controversies. Peter Decherney shows that the history of intellectual property in Hollywood has not always mirrored the evolution of the law. Many landmark decisions have barely changed the industry’s behavior, while some quieter policies have had revolutionary effects. His most remarkable contribution uncovers Hollywood’s reliance on self-regulation. Rather than involve congress, judges, or juries in settling copyright disputes, studio heads and filmmakers have often kept such arguments “in house,” turning to talent guilds and other groups for solutions. Whether the issue has been battling piracy in the 1900s, controlling the threat of home video, or managing modern amateur and noncommercial uses of protected content, much of Hollywood’s engagement with the law has occurred offstage, in the larger theater of copyright. Decherney’s unique history recounts these extralegal solutions and their impact on American media and culture.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

...an informative, well-written history of developments that have profoundly shaped American culture from Edison to YouTube. Highly recommended.

The Midwest Book Review
Any collection strong in Hollywood media issues needs this fine survey, which goes beyond the scenes to probe the decisions and actions that often take place outside the actual courtroom.

Media Culture and Society - Burcu Baykurt
A richly detailed and compelling account that is a much-needed addition to the cultural and political history of copyright law. It is essential reading for media and communications scholars and students, but also highly recommended to anyone interested in copyright law.

Film & History
Superb.

Film Quarterly - Brian Real
An exemplary work.

Moving Image Source
A splendid new study of the legal, technological, and aesthetic wrangling over motion picture copyright wrongs and rights, particularly timely.

— Thomas Doherty

Toby Miller

There was a time when mentioning copyright drew yawns across faculty lounges and barstools, but no longer. This crucial component of our cultural infrastructure is now the topic of the day. Peter Decherney's sure-handed, able history of Hollywood and copyright gives us a rich perspective on the industry's past, present, and possible future.

Warren Lieberfarb

This carefully researched and evenhanded page-turner chronicles the century-long, give-and-take among powerful studios, content creators, and evolving technology. From cutthroat business practices to hard-fought legal decisions, Peter Decherney thoughtfully charts a history that can cast individuals and conglomerates in the varying roles of victim and victimizer with rapid speed. Hollywood's Copyright Wars is an invaluable chronicle and a compulsive read -- just like an absorbing and complex movie thriller.

Robert Spoo

Peter Decherney's broad knowledge of cinema history, coupled with his well-informed grasp of a century of developments in U.S. copyright law, makes this a unique and compelling book.

Moving Image Source - Thomas Doherty
A splendid new study of the legal, technological, and aesthetic wrangling over motion picture copyright wrongs and rights, particularly timely.

Jotwell: Cyberlaw - Rebecca Tushnet
Decherney's readable book provides a century of evidence about the complicated relationship between film, law, and power.

Archival Spaces: Memory, Images, History - Jan-Christopher Horak
A groundbreaking study on what has been an understudied aspect of American film history.

Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice - Eleonora Rosati
Have you ever wondered if a book about copyright law could be as compelling as the Fifty Shades trilogy, but without BDSM scenes? Well, wonder no further. The answer, after reading Hollywood's Copyright Wars by Peter Decherney, is definitely yes.

Library Journal
King Solomon said there's nothing new under the sun. And the movie business is the embodiment of that philosophy, endlessly recycling material. Yet Hollywood complains the loudest when anyone else touches its products. Decherney (cinema studies, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Hollywood and the Culture Elite) shows that from the very earliest days of the cinema—Edison and the Black Maria—the industry has used intellectual property laws and the courts as a cudgel. He covers such topics as auteur theory, the terrifying threat of the VCR, George Lucas's love-hate relationship with Star Wars fans, and how Hollywood's approach to copyright law is choking culture and innovation. VERDICT Both scholarly and readable, this will be of interest to movie history buffs and those who deal with copyright issues, but it's too inside baseball for general readers.—Michael Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231501460
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
04/17/2012
Series:
Film and Culture Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
26 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are Saying About This

Siva Vaidhyanathan
I tell my students that one cannot understand how media work without understanding copyright. With deep research and lively writing, this book makes that point emphatically. Peter Decherney shows how the copyright system shaped the American film industry and how film in turn shaped copyright. This is cultural history at its best.

Toby Miller
There was a time when mentioning copyright drew yawns across faculty lounges and barstools, but no longer. This crucial component of our cultural infrastructure is now the topic of the day. Peter Decherney's sure-handed, able history of Hollywood and copyright gives us a rich perspective on the industry's past, present, and possible future.

Peter Jaszi

Hollywood's Copyright Wars is an elegant, extremely readable and highly important contribution to the scholarly literature of legal history and film studies. There is, simply put, nothing else like it in the market or on the horizon.

Peter Jaszi, American University Washington College of Law

Robert Spoo
Peter Decherney's broad knowledge of cinema history, coupled with his well-informed grasp of a century of developments in U.S. copyright law, makes this a unique and compelling book.

Warren Lieberfarb
This carefully researched and evenhanded page-turner chronicles the century-long, give-and-take among powerful studios, content creators, and evolving technology. From cutthroat business practices to hard-fought legal decisions, Peter Decherney thoughtfully charts a history that can cast individuals and conglomerates in the varying roles of victim and victimizer with rapid speed. Hollywood's Copyright Wars is an invaluable chronicle and a compulsive read—just like an absorbing and complex movie thriller.

Meet the Author

Peter Decherney is professor of cinema studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American.

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Hollywood's Copyright Wars - From Edison to the Internet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully wonderful!!!! I assume you did this arwen... This ish awesome!!!! Please write more!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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